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    Outside of a small circle of Penn State football friends

    Outside of a small circle of Penn State football friends

    The Penn State football scandal is the Kitty Genovese scandal of our time.

    Of all the unimaginable things, can you imagine a 28 year old walking in on a child rape in progress and doing nothing to stop it?

    I don’t mean to turn this into Phil Ochs Day, but Phil wrote a song about the Genovese case, Outside of a Small Circle of Friends, which applies to Penn State, which seemed not to care about anyone outside of its small circle of football friends:

    Look outside the window, there’s a woman being grabbed
    They’ve dragged her to the bushes and now she’s being stabbed
    Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
    But Monopoly is so much fun, I’d hate to blow the game
    And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody
    Outside of a small circle of friends.


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    WarEagle82 | November 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    In the end, a 28 year old literally doing nothing in this case is not as reason-defying as the two policemen who returned 14 year old Konerak Sinthasomphone to the custody of Jeffery Dahmer because they thought the two were engaged in a “loving, homosexual relationship.”

    It appears America has been fundamentally changed over the last generation…

    In the early morning hours of May 27, 1991, 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone (by coincidence, the younger brother of the boy whom Dahmer had molested) was discovered on the street, wandering naked, heavily under the influence of drugs and bleeding from his rectum. Two young women from the neighborhood found the dazed boy and called 911. Dahmer chased his victim down and tried to take him away, but the women stopped him. Dahmer told police that Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old boyfriend, and that they had an argument while drinking. Against the protests of the two women who had called 911, police turned him over to Dahmer. They later reported smelling a strange scent while inside Dahmer’s apartment, but did not investigate it. The smell was the body of Tony Hughes, Dahmer’s previous victim, decomposing in the bedroom. The two policemen did not make any attempt to verify Sinthasomphone’s age and failed to run a background check that would have revealed Dahmer was a convicted child molester still under probation. Later that night, Dahmer killed and dismembered Sinthasomphone, keeping his skull as a souvenir.

    TheChemist | November 12, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    What amazes me with all the talk about what people say they would do when faced with this or a similar situation is how “heroic” everyone thinks they would be. It may not seem heroic to stop a crime in progress, but I suspect it’s much harder to act and do the right thing, esp. when one’s economic interest is on the line. Heroic behavior is so extraordinary because it is so rare.
    I have never been to Penn State. Folks seem to assume JoePa as some all present, all knowing micromanager of all things Penn State. Maybe so, but I sort of doubt it. Sure he had power and influence there, but what was the basis of that power? Secret files on everyone? Again, unlikely. His power and influence is based on the accomplishments of his teams, year after year, and the $$$ that those teams have brought to the University.

    Every large organization has its areas of reponsibilities, and why this fell down so badly at Penn State is the biggest mystery/tragedy. JoePa reported what was reported to him; he had every expectation that those folks would do their job. Was Sandusky such a big deal that he could not have been safely tossed under the bus? Why was the investigation so pathetic? I have to think some of Iowan2 argument has merit here, sad to say.

    Almost unrelated, tho maybe not really, I sense an undercurrent of glee in some in seeing JoePa taken down. If you didn’t pay close attention you would think he was the molester.

      gs in reply to TheChemist. | November 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      Thoughts along these lines have been crossing my mind, but you expressed them much better than I would have.

      My impression is that many people are feeling pent-up frustration and rage, and they seize the opportunity to release them when a pretext presents itself. I don’t claim immunity from this.

      bob aka either orr in reply to TheChemist. | November 13, 2011 at 2:15 am

      You make some good points, my friend. (See my post below for a major rant).
      Addressing your points: Paterno’s “power” came from the loyal base of support he has had from alumni and students for (1) producing very good and sometimes great football teams; (2) setting the behavioral and academic standards high for the athletes in his charge; and (3) his energy and personal financial commitment to other aspects of the university. How many football coaches make a seven-figure seed money commitment for a library expansion? BTW, Paterno probably never made more than $1.5 million in a year, including salary, broadcast deals, etc. That’s cheap for a highly successful big-revenue coach.
      I don’t know as Iowan2’s arguments are really in play here that much. Child sexual abuse is child sexual abuse… period. Male, female, it doesn’t really matter… it’s still sick, sick, sick.
      There are a bunch of $64,000 questions out there in this case. The biggies: Why did the AD and VP wait 10 days to talk to the grad assistant after Paterno told the AD? And why did they recommend only that they ban the pederast from bringing boys to the campus… a ban that the AD admitted under oath was unenforcable?
      Figure those two out and you get a lot closer to the truth here. I have my thoughts… and they’re so sickening that I don’t even want to discuss them.

    bob aka either orr | November 13, 2011 at 1:56 am

    This is going to run long, folks. Bear with me.

    I’m part of a Penn State family. I have a wife with a degree (elementary/special education), and two kids working toward their degrees there (one in logistics management, one in recreation management). They have gotten and are in the process of getting a damned good education… which, after all, is what post-secondary schooling is supposed to be about.

    Now they’re all cretins and worse because of a pedarast run amok and a couple of dozen drunken louts?

    If you get the idea that I’m hissed off, you’re right.

    I’m hissed off that a bunch of kids were turned into a pederast’s playtoys.

    I’m hissed off that Jerry Sandusky is allowed to walk the streets and still collect a fat PSU pension.

    I’m hissed off that the only person who publicly expressed any contrition about this nightmare on College Avenue is the only person forcibly severed from his employment — Paterno. University president Spanier is allowed to submit his resignation (forced to do it, sure, but he was allowed to do it); Curley, the AD who is charged with lying to the grand jury, is on administrative leave (with full pay!); Schultz, the VP who supervised the campus police, is allowed to retire.

    The Chemist said it well. The way it’s being reported, you’d think Paterno himself was the molester.

    I’m hissed off that the actions of about three dozen drunked-up bozos is being characterized as the actions of an entire community, while little is said about the 10,000 or so PSU students who showed up for a vigil Friday night. Probably most of you outside of a couple of Pa. markets didn’t see anything about that. You can go here:

    Yes, that is my daughter in this clip and I’m damned proud of her for doing the right thing.

    I’m hissed off that due process has been thrown out the window. Yeah, this is appalling. I want to string Sandusky up myself and hang him from a light post on College Avenue. And don’t give me crap about “what about the victims?”

    I want — no, I demand — that those victims get justice… done the right way. We all should. Those who did wrong should pay the price.

    But performing another injustice in a frantic stampede to judgment in an attempt to correct a grave injustice does no justice at all. For anyone.

    […] after the city’s sports team WINS a major championship and college football fans and students protest in support of a long time coach who is alleged to have ignored multiple incidents of child sex abuse by one of his staff *, it is […]

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